Citizens, cndidates and MPs: From social participation topolitical involvement
IPSA-ECPR Joint Conference
Comparative studies on a European level have shown that participation in associations in Portugal is generally lower than in Northern and Central European countries, with the possible exception of membership of associations involving social integration (cultural, recreational, sporting and others). However, recent research into the situation in Portugal showed that the involvement of MPs in associations far exceeded that of the citizenry in general. This greater participation by MPs was not only registered in associations with a civic and political agenda (associations that uphold particular values or defend citizens’ rights), that is, associations with a strong presence in the public sphere, but also in associations involving social integration and even associations for the protection of particular interests (trade unions and professional and employers’ associations). The only exception was the religious associations. These results generated interest in a more detailed study on this issue, so that the relationship between social capital, measured by participation in associations, and political involvement could be better understood. These are the circumstances in which the same questionnaire on association membership was applied to parliamentary candidates (for the general election of 2009): in combination with the data already available for the citizens and MPs, it allowed us to carry out a broader comparative analysis, whose results are presented in this paper.
participação social, associativismo, participação política, atitudes políticas.